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This Day in U.S. History: April 15


1715 – The Pocotaligo Massacre triggers the start of the Yamasee War in colonial South Carolina.

1783 – Preliminary articles of peace ending the American Revolutionary War (or American War of Independence) are ratified.

1817 – Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc founded the American School for the Deaf, the first American school for deaf students, in Hartford, Connecticut.

1861 – President Abraham Lincoln calls for 75,000 Volunteers to quell the insurrection that soon became the American Civil War

1865 – President Abraham Lincoln dies after being shot the previous evening by actor John Wilkes Booth. Vice President Andrew Johnson, becomes President upon Lincoln's death.

1892 – The General Electric Company is formed.

1896 – Closing ceremony of the Games of the I Olympiad in Athen, Greece.

1900 – Philippine–American War: Filipino guerrillas launch a surprise attack on U.S. infantry and begin a four-day siege of Catubig, Philippines.

1907 – Triangle Fraternity is founded at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

1912 – The British passenger liner RMS Titanic sinks in the North Atlantic at 2:20 a.m., two hours and forty minutes after hitting an iceberg. Only 710 of 2,227 passengers and crew on board survive.

1920 – Two security guards are murdered during a robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts. Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti would be convicted of and executed for the crime, amid much controversy.

1922 – U.S. Senator John B. Kendrick of Wyoming introduces a resolution calling for an investigation of a secret land deal, which leads to the discovery of the Teapot Dome scandal.

1923 – Insulin becomes generally available for use by people with diabetes.

1924 – Rand McNally publishes its first road atlas.

1927 – The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the most destructive river flood in U.S. history, begins.

1945 – The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp is liberated.

1947 – Jackie Robinson debuts for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking baseball's color line.

1952 – The maiden flight of the B-52 Stratofortress

1955 – McDonald's restaurant dates its founding to the opening of a franchised restaurant by Ray Kroc, in Des Plaines, Illinois

1960 – At Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, Ella Baker leads a conference that results in the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, one of the principal organizations of the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

1964 – The first Ford Mustang rolls off the show room floor, two days before it is set to go on sale nationwide.

1969 – The EC-121 shootdown incident: North Korea shoots down a United States Navy aircraft over the Sea of Japan, killing all 31 on board.

1986 – The United States launches Operation El Dorado Canyon, its bombing raids against Libyan targets in response to a bombing in West Germany that killed two U.S. servicemen.

2013 – Two bombs explode near the finish line at the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, killing three people and injuring 264 others.


1741 – Charles Willson Peale, American painter and soldier (d. 1827)

1843 – Henry James, American novelist, short writer, and critic (d. 1916)

1889 – A. Philip Randolph, American activist (d. 1979)

1894 – Nikita Khrushchev, Russian general and politician, 7th Premier of the Soviet Union (d. 1971)

1894 – Bessie Smith, American singer and actress (d. 1937)

1916 – Alfred S. Bloomingdale, American businessman (d. 1982)

1943 – Hugh Thompson, Jr., American soldier and pilot (d. 2006)

1951 – Heloise, American journalist and author

1957 – Evelyn Ashford, American runner and coach

1967 – Dara Torres, American swimmer and journalist


1865 – Abraham Lincoln, American captain, lawyer, and politician, 16th President of the United States (b. 1809)

1889 – Father Damien, Belgian priest and saint (b. 1840)

1912 – Victims of the RMS Titanic disaster

          John Jacob Astor IV, American colonel, businessman, and author (b. 1864)

          Archibald Butt, American general and journalist (b. 1865)

          Jacques Futrelle, American journalist and author (b. 1875)

          Benjamin Guggenheim American businessman (b. 1865)

          Henry B. Harris, American producer and manager (b. 1866)

          Ida Straus, German-American businesswoman (b. 1849)

          Isidor Straus, German-American businessman and politician (b. 1845)

          John Thayer, American cricketer (b. 1862)

1983 – John Engstead, American photographer and journalist (b. 1909)

1998 – William Congdon, American-Italian painter and sculptor (b. 1912)

2000 – Edward Gorey, American poet and illustrator (b. 1925)

2001 – Joey Ramone, American singer-songwriter (b. 1951)

2002 – Damon Knight, American author and critic (b. 1922)

2002 – Byron White, American football player, lawyer, and jurist, 4th United States Deputy Attorney General (b. 1917)